Fraternity of Fathers

It’s the first day of the sophomore year of college. Not for me; for my daughter.

The trip down was harrowing including interesting new policies the airline carrier imposed without adequate notice to its customers. Becoming haughty about that lack of full communication and delayed baggage. All of which couldn’t seem to be resolved unless the airport cops were involved.

Last time I checked, the lost baggage department was staffed with folk who were empathetic and interested in trying to help even when they had no real way to help. This one we met instead essentially quoted Smeagol “…leave now, and never return…” -__-

Eventually, 16 hours after leaving my humble abode, I pulled up to the fleabag motel where I’m staying with the rest of the family, bags retrieved and safely in our trunk. The motel staff is moderately put out due to the sudden influx of 15 trillion people. They are a bit gun shy and beleaguered so I can’t expect their best. Nor do I receive it.

The room is fine, for its part, and it’s convenient to the strip of groceries, big box stores, restaurants and is a short run to the actual university.

The stage is set. Strike up the band and dim the lights. The show is about to begin.

Next morning comes and it’s breakfast time. Here’s where the fun really begins. I look and my bleary eyes espy cold boiled eggs (which were rather good), a plethora of pre packaged bread items like bagels and pancakes which likely never actually saw a pan before being hermetically sealed in plastic. The juice is in a bladder hidden by a large metal closet with a plastic arm to release it’s chilled contents. The television is blasting the interlopers rioting in Ferguson Missouri making the locals anxious and fatigued. I stand in line with my bagel hoping the toaster doesn’t burn it like the last guys was. Next to me is an equally concerned father gaping at the toaster, giving it the side eye.

He asks me how to adjust the heat as his glasses are forgotten upstairs. I assist and we stand in silence for a beat. I feel from him that he is a father of a college kid too. So I ask him how it’s going. My instinct is correct as he immediately launches into the concerns we both share:

The university is huge.
My kid may get lost.
I may get lost.
My money is already lost.
The cost of education is unbearable.
The cost of not being educated is even more unbearable.
We both are afraid to walk out the motel door because everything we do and every time we move, it costs us dearly for tuition, books, room, board, handshakes with random folk, meetings with the professor, student center, trading post, parking. ‘…It never ends and it all has a price tag.’ he finishes. I agree and say that perhaps those whom are currently invested in jails would do well to pull out, given the current political climate. Better to invest in colleges. There’s money in them thar hills! He laughed mirthlessly at the irony of that observation and agrees. The haunted look in our faces would’ve made Janus pause.

We part.

Being a father has always been a challenge emotionally, physically, financially and sometimes spiritually. But honestly there’s no better job I could ever ask for. I’m blessed to be a daddy. I just wish college was not quite so painful for us dads.

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